MDAH to support faith based group visits with Lilly Endowment grant

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JANS – Faith-affiliated communities in Mississippi – groups who attend churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, house churches, and more – may now visit the Two Mississippi Museums for free with groups of 10 or more persons.

Groups making reservations at least two weeks in advance may receive the added benefit of an in-depth overview of the museums by a museum guide during their visit.

These free group visits are made possible thanks to a $2.5 million grant awarded by Lilly Endowment Inc. to the Foundation for Mississippi History to help the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) support and promote programs, activities, and projects focused on the understanding and interpretation of the role of religion in Mississippi history and culture.

Additionally, support from Lilly Endowment will enable MDAH to broaden its audience and engage them in new ways by providing a 35 percent discount to faith-affiliated entities for facility rentals.

Lilly Endowment made the grant through its Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative, a nationwide effort to help museums and other cultural institutions improve the public’s understanding of religion.

“We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for this major support,” said Katie Blount, MDAH director. “Lilly Endowment’s generosity will help more Mississippians experience these outstanding museums.” 

The Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum both address the history of religion. From the spiritual beliefs of Native Americans to the conflicting religious convictions of slaveholders and enslaved people, to the leadership of people of faith during the Civil Rights Movement, religion has been integral to the development of Mississippi.

“Museums and cultural institutions are trusted organizations and play an important role in teaching the American public about the world around them,” said Christopher Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “These organizations will use the grants to help visitors understand and appreciate the significant impact religion has had and continues to have on society in the United States and around the globe. Our hope is that these efforts will promote greater knowledge about and respect for people of diverse religious traditions.”

Lilly endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J. K. Lilly and his sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion. Although the Endowment funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

For more information about faith-affiliated group visits, call 601-576-6850, or visit to make a reservation.

For more information about rentals at the Two Mississippi Museums, call 601-576-6850 or send an email to

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MDAH to support faith based group visits with Lilly Endowment grant

By Jackson Advocate News Service
May 15, 2023